Santur player Siamak Aghaei and violinist Colin Jacobsen arranged a traditional folk melody that was inspired by mythology. "Ascending Bird" tells the popular legend of a bird attempting to fly to the sun. After two failed attempts, the bird finally makes contact with the sun, losing its physical body in fire, and in this way achieving a metaphorical spiritual transcendence.
The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma performed this piece in Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, where the Silkroad is acting as a working laboratory to explore intersections between the arts and academics. The Ensemble draws performing artists from around the world to share traditions from various cultures and explore and expand contemporary musical crossroads.